Skip to main content

tv   Reel America We Heard the Bells The Influenza of 1918  CSPAN  May 19, 2020 8:40pm-9:39pm EDT

8:40 pm
take it to bed. and stay there until it has run its course. this is the safest way to regain your health. and to return as quickly as possible to work, to fun and to play.
8:41 pm
in 1918, i lived in sacoolas county. >> in 1918, my family was living in south philadelphia. >> in 1918? we were living in el paso, texas. >> i was born and raised in baltimore. >> in bustlincities and
8:42 pm
remote villages, in the united states and around the world, orphaned children cried for their parents in 1918. people of all cultures struggled with the same terible threat, and within a matter of months, 50 million would be dead. in the united states, the death toll reached 675, 000, five times the number of u.s. soldiers killed in world war one. what was that deadly threatat?
8:43 pm
>> many people died, i was just coming from a few weeks before from mexico, where we were livingng. on account of the revolution, the mexican revolution. >> i was about ten years old, i was the oldest and my brothers and sisters, i was pop getting it. my two brothers were in one room sick, i was sick and in the other bedroom with my mother, my for dad and sister had to be attendance and see what they could do for us. they gave us such a high fever and i thought her black hair
8:44 pm
was a cat, and i was afraid of it. it was a deliriumum for the high fever. people were left very weak with that high fever and public places, and everywhere was closed. i guess maybe two or three weeks. >> i was eight years old. i lived near my mother and she and her daughter and two grandchildren were living close to alex. when they got the flu and got sick, my parents, i just moved in with them where my mother could nurse to patient and get care of them. look at that time, my mother was 25 years old and she had three children. she was expecting another baby in may, and this was in
8:45 pm
february and she had taken care ofeight pa at one time very sick patients with the flu, with no convenience, no modern facilities whatsoever. to keep all of those fires going, plus do the nurturing care with eight patients. >> tell us, and he always went to tell us good morning. good morning was his indian name. at that time it was working in tennessee for a dupont company. anytime anybody was sick, we would always bring up the story of how he got sick and how a lot of people were brought back sick. they were brought back, and
8:46 pm
some of them had passed away in tennessee. in 1918, my mother was like 11 years old tshe remembers they lived on the south side of the village. she remembers that there was a certain bell for the death, and she said she remembers it how awful it sounded. >> in 1918, most of us did not think of influenza as a disease, we suffered through the flu season every winter. and the u.s., the flu season peaks between january and the end of march. >> the symptoms are usually a low fever and feeling wiped out. influenza is much more
8:47 pm
pronounced than that. people will generally have a high grade fever, absolutely no energy whatsoever. muscle aches and a fairly dry cough, bu after 45 days, usually yourself again. really severe, it can cause pneumonia. >> complication from the flu causesed an average of more than 200,000 hospitalizations every year in the u.s.. and an average ,000 people died from those complications. >> there are certain groups that are at risk for complications, those less than two years of age, elderly people particular people 65 years and older of any age you may have underlying conditions, like asthma, chronic lung disease, chronic cardiovascular
8:48 pm
disease, and in addition, pregnant women are at higher risk for complications for seasonal influenza. >> when seasonal influenza is a serious health threat for people at risk of complications. the outbreak of influenza that swept the 1918 and 1990 killed over half 1 million people when the population was only a third of what it was today. >> i was four years old at that time. i was living at the ranch, the mother was the midwife who tended to the people and they used to take me with her to visit the new mothers, and i loved to see the new babies. i cried because, at that time,
8:49 pm
the miracle about it is that she did not get it. and, according to our, none of us got it either. she would tell me about how people would die, sometimes doing, they had no funeral service or anything like that. they were just carried them off to bury them. it was very hard for them to keep up but burying the dead because they were dyinso fast. the one thing that stayed in my mind because i used to hear it even later was the pounding of the nailing of boards together. making, i call them boxes. coffins for people. whether people called it influenza, the grip, or the spanish flu, this was not the food that comes every winter. today, we know that influenza is caused by a virus, the
8:50 pm
influenza virus. we know that the virus spreads from one person to anothher through droplets when people cough and sneeze or through contact with the virus on someone's's hand, or a contaminated surface. in 1918, no one knew what caused it, where it started, or how to stop it. >> they were scared because it happened so rapidly. they did not know what was going on, what was happening, or why? >> there were few communities in the u.s. so small or isolated that they were sheltered from the waves of the deadly disease that sswept around the world. the influenza of 1918 even touched remote anyou get villages in alaska, sometimes killing every man, woman and child, or killing the adults and leaving the children with no one to care for them. >> the 1918 influenza struck some native peoples in the
8:51 pm
southwest very hard to. >> i don't think the doctor resided here but he came from albuquerque. a lot of our people, older people did not speak the english language, so my dad would interpret for him what he was asking him to do, have to take care of themselves. they would work from e early morning until late ght trying to visit every home in the pup flub low. when they got to some of the homes, they would find two or three people that had passed away during the week. every week they were burying people, the bell would be telling from monday to evening because of so many deaths. >> >> the bureau of inddian afaffairs told him to investigae the situation in the pueblo's near albuquerque, new mexico. he told, the strength of the
8:52 pm
pueblo's was not taken with the agent or markedly with the infants, but from the young adult life of the tribe. and this was true around the world. with the influenza that hits us every fall and winter, most healthy adults are sick for a week or two and recover. when people die of the flu, it is almost always the very young and the very old. but the influenza of 1918 was not only much more lethal than seasonal flu, the death rate was very high among young adults. strong young men and women were working to support and care for their families. >> my parents came to tis country from romania, and in 1918, my family was living in south philadelphia. >> i think it was the neighborhood mostly of immigrants. it was a hard life, it was a rough life. >> my mother and father and my two sisters all had d the flu.
8:53 pm
it was a very sad period. there was like a sadness over the city. when you looked out, you saw hard anybody walking around. people stayed in their houses because they were afraid and they said that it seems that if it kill, do it did it fast. the young neighbor saw them coming home and the next afternoon, they saw them carried out. he died. >> of all the cities in the u.s., philadelphia had won the rates of sickness and death and most disruption. the city resisted putting measures in place that might have limited the spread of the flu. measures such as limiting public gatherings where the flu could spread. the city allowed a large parade to take place to raise money for the troops fighting world war one. although the rchers and crowd
8:54 pm
wore masks, many caught the flu from those already infected. >> baltimore fared almost as badly as philadelphia, soldiers at camp meet, south of the city, became sick in mid september and by early september, there were 2000 cases in baltimore. officials hesitated to close schools and other meeting places, which would have reduced contact between the sick and the well. hospitals and funeral homes were overwhelmed and they workers who kept the city and its businesses running were too sick to get out of bed. >> bethlehem still got all these men from down south to operate the mills and it was just thousands of men coming. my father worked for bethlehem snow, the only black baker they ever had was my father. the people were very kind to one another and there was a
8:55 pm
place where everyone looked after each other. in the past, no one lived there, but the man who worked for bethlehem still. they died and the team around them did not know they were that, did not know how long they have depended, because they went to wo. you come back in the evening, and he's dead. my mother was sick in everything and the quarantine. they did not visit anyone, and nobody visited us accept this lady, she went around helping everyone who was sick, and anyt. >> back in 1918, between ten and 12 years old, i was sick. and i got the flu, and it was jt my mother and i, two of my friends went to elementary school together, and both of them were stricken with the
8:56 pm
flu. i would go out to the hospital to go and visit her, and they put her out on the porch, an wintertime and they had blankets and a hood on, but she died. both of them died at a young age. >> people did not understand, and there was no vaccine, but your parents did the best they could for you. >> the influenza of 1918, 1919 was a pandemic, an outbreak of disease around the world which caused serious illness and death. why was the influenza of 1918 so much more deadly than the seasonal flu we experience every winter? what it was different about the influenza virus in 1918? >> the seasonal influenza viruses that cause annual outbreaks, epidemics in the united states during our fall, winter and early spring, those are influenza viruses that are
8:57 pm
circulating among people worldwide. and they are evolving, they are changing just a little bit, but they are human viruses. so some percentage of the u.s. population and the world population gets infected every year.r. some become ill, some recover from a self illness and all these people who survived will have some immunity. other people get vaccinated and we receive some immunity throughgh that vaccine. so there are two ways to acquire immune protection. one is the natural infection, which yourecover, you survive, and then you have immunity. the other is through vaccination. and vaccination stimulates our body's immune system to produce antibodies through the specific in the vaccine. an influence a pandemic is different. an influenza pandemic is a more
8:58 pm
influenza virus to which most of the populationn has not previously been exposed and have any immunity. no immune protection and what you see is very high numbers of people becoming sick worldwide. >> i in the last 100, years more influenza viruses have cost for pandemics and 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009. > they come from birds, wild water fowl and other birds, they can get into domestic poultry, chicken and can get into human beings directly. picks, various aquatic mammals. they can get into horses. they can get into any of these people by coming directly from a bird or going through a
8:59 pm
circuitous route in another animal. >> the railroad commutations that occur through a number of reasons, these types of viruses, underserved ten circumstances, adapt themselves to other species and then as they propagate themselves in these other species, they adapt themselves better to spread from pick to pick or from bird to bird or from person to person, and the house we worry about the most from a human health standpoint is the human species. >> one of my dad's sisters lived pretty close to us, and she had a family of four children and her husband, and he was expecting. she had taken the flu and, of course, she passed away. she was very sick and passed away. the ladies that had taken the flu and were pregnant, they all died. and my mother never got it. >> we don't know why pregnant women die at a high rate, but it has been documented for well
9:00 pm
over 500 years. one of the biggest perspectives for a fatal outcome from influenza is pregnancy. whatever the reason, it's clear that pregnant women in 1918 were very high risk. pregnant women, of course, are going to be in the younger age ranges, but non pregnant women and men and that age range were at much higher risk than die. why this happened, we don't know? the flu pandemic people die, some percentage will always tie, it tends to be the older folks, people who have chronic conditions like chronic heart or lung disease, pregnant women, infants. this time in 1918 something different happened otherwise young healthy adults died at a quickly rate. it constituted a large papart of all of the deaths. y that happened is a mystetery. the the mission is nohwest of
9:01 pm
noem alaska, the fact that it exists today is remarkable since of the 80 residents in 1918, only five adults and three children survived the flu pandemic. over 50 years ago a young man with an interest in viruses found his way to the village. >> i was a medical student in sweden, i thought i would travel to the united states and get a masters degree in virology's, and then one thing led to the next them and i decided to go for my phd, and one day we had a visitor a very prominent virologist, i remember his talking about everything that had been done to find out what it was that caused the 1918 flu. in the 15 second comment at the end, he said somebody ought to go to the northern part of the world and try to find a victim
9:02 pm
of the 1918 spanish flu that is buried in the frost. and that victim is likely to have been remained frozen since 1918. atat th time it was like 35 or 40 years later. and the take a look at the virus. and in that 15 seconds i happen to be there, and i immediately went to my faculty adviser to aask him, could that be a subject for my phd, he saioh yeah just go ahead. i happen to have worked in the summer of 1949 for a paleontologist in atlas. gonna >> the paleontologist have worked on the peninsula and knew the missionaries in the villages there. with his help, he was able to review copieofission records from the fall of 1918. he found that the military had
9:03 pm
very good records, showing the location and thickness of the permafrost in alaska. >> on that basis, i decided on three elections, i showed up in june. i went to the first village them, gnome, them and i went to the mass graves and discovered that the water that normally float on the side of that village a distance away had changed course from 1918. it had come into the village and melted the permafrost. then i engaged a bush pilot to fly me to another village called wales. i found a mass grave that was clearly marked with a large cross, and the frost falling down to the beach and almost invaded the mass grave.
9:04 pm
i figured there is no permafrost, so th bh pilot flew me to the next village. there is no way to land thre i had land on a beach some distance away in another village. thd to cross the water in a whale boat. kim it wareally rough water, then i had to walk six miles in soggy hundred that was beginning to melt. they had a village council, a council of the elders, it was a matriarchal society. the eldest women of ththe larget family makes the decisions. at least she heavily influences decisions. little did i know them, that was going ry important later on. fortunately for me there were three survivors of the 1918 pandemic that were still alive. i asked them to please tell the other members what it was like
9:05 pm
that november with 90% of the village died. i said, if you allow me to enter the grave and if i am fortunate enough to find the right specimen, i will take it back to my lab and if everything works out well, it will be possible for us to develop a v vaccine. the next day, they said we will have a vaccine to immunize you. they understood vaccine because they had been immunized against small pox. the matriarch was in favor of this. that influence the decision, so they allowed me to open the grave. so i went out to the grave site,
9:06 pm
started to dig and about a foot down i came across the permafrost. it was very hard, frozen ground. i started a fire that went up the beach and i climbed up the thermafrost. started at the end of the second day, i went another four feet and i found the first victim. a young girl, estimated 12 years of age, but the condition of her body at four feet from the surface was so good that i thought down deeper they would be even better preserved. and adults as well. 72 bodies in that grave. i didn't come alone to alaska, i had my faculty adviser, a pathologists onene of my
9:07 pm
professors in the department to perform the postmortem examinations. we were for. i was ahead of them, to scout the grave, to test dig. a day later they came to the beach where i had landed earlier. we traveled the same way, back to the village, now that there were four of us digging we could do it rapidly. three days later we are down six feet, then we found three perfectly preserved bodies. the pathologists performed the postmortems on them. they were perfectly preserved. we thanked the villagers and left, we close the grave. i took some pictures throughout all of it. i started to try and find and alive influenza virus.
9:08 pm
week after week after week. i got more discououraged. eventually i had no more specimen. the virus was dead. and there with my phd, i could see it fly out through the window. in an on air conditioned office by the way. i decided to go back to sweden to continue my medical education, i was extremely fortunate, they offerered to hae me at e medical school in iowa. i became a pathologists, back in my mind i had this memory of not getting my phd and all the effort that went into that. i kind of collapsed. >> pathology is a specialty of medicine where pathologists used the tools of molecular
9:09 pm
biology and genetics to make diagnoses and person side -- you can make diagnoses of infectious diseases by looking at the genetic with cheerio of the infection organism. i was in the natural -- in 1993 i moved to the armed forces of pathology to set up a new group developed to pathology, both for clinical as well as research. one of the things we had to do for both sides of that was to work out how to recover genetic material from biopsy material. the tissue repository goes back to the civil war, they've a huge collection of millions of tissue samples, reflecting all aspects of clinical disease, tumors, infectious disease. including autopsies of soldiers wh died of fluid 1918. we wanted to take a project that would highlight the utility of having such a large tissue archive, the way those
9:10 pm
two things came together in my mind was to go after the 1918 flu. we thought it might be possible to recover fragments that is still preserved in autopsy tissues of people who died 1918. when we started the project there were two fundamental questions that we wanted to answer. one, whwhy was this virus so particular violence? why didn't kill so many healthy adults? where did this highlight virus come from? we are hoping to flip. that we could understand how pandemics form and why particular flu viruses cause more deaths than other. these tissues were extremely old. it was not clear that we can recover any genetic material from the samples. we had to work out techniques and continue e to refine the teciques to extracts nucleic accidents, dna in aren't a from the samples. we started this project in 1995,
9:11 pm
it took over a year to find the first positive case. to worork other techniques and make sure that we could find influenza. once we had found the first posive, and we started to generate sequence and compared to don't influenza viruses, we are convinced we found the 1918 virus. we are concerns that there would be inadequate amounts of material available to us to sequen the whole virus from that material. >> in march of 1997, in science news, that it was 1918 pandemic virus found. it's whole sequence had been discovered. i wrote a letter saying, if you need more specimens let me know and i will go back to aska, i've been there before, i know where it is and can go back. i didn't hear anything. i thought well, he thinks i'm crazy. he happened to be on vacation,
9:12 pm
so he didn't get his mail. >> we e extremely excited about the possibility, we had hope that if we could recover material from a frozen victim that quality of the genetic material might be improved over what we had in these blocks. >> he called me here, he said when can you go. >> i can go next week. i called up and said, this time when i comeme it's's so happened that it was an august, that is a much harde time to dig during the permafrost. pester brian, he is still there, he knew of the excavation i carried o 1951. he also knew that i had to get permission to do it again. he said it was very difficult, you may not be able to get
9:13 pm
permission this time. but i will introduce you to someone else, she was the matriarch in 1997. little did i know that her grandmother was the original matriarch. you never would have happened otherwise. it just looks like that that everything was going wrong. it was crucial. >> the doctor presented his case to the village council, including the matriarch. he made sure they understood the virus was dead and could not cause disease. >> i also told them how important it is, your participation, this is where begins. you are part of the team now. i am thee specimen collector, the doctor is and his institute
9:14 pm
of his pathology, but it begins with you. i got the permission to go. no one wants to go into a grave and dig for bodies. so i said i will do it myself. that a member said, would you like to have some lp? they w were assigned by the village council to help me. that i knew where the grave was, so i have marked it off, and the end of the first day we are down already four feet, i didn't see anything at all. and then five feet the following day. i noticed there were some bodies at seven feet. the skeleletons and then next to the skeleton was a woman.
9:15 pm
and a perfectly preserved that with her clothing had fallen off, but i could see the skin and it was the -- i started to do the postmortem and i took the rib cage off and their exposed the lungs. they were the textbook picture of a person who had died of acute viral influenza. who is exactly what i did it. sub cute amy us fatty layers. and fatty inside her ribs also. they have protected the lungs from the occasional thaw of the permafrost that i had reached. the estimates are not obese, there is not that much food around, they were active and hardworking, so to find one who
9:16 pm
had extra calories stored, it was remarkable. and here was a woman who had ample food, a good husband, a gogood steal hunter. brought all this food for her, can you imagine how fortunate she was? then i decided i was going to make new crosses to show my gratitude to the college. i knew how tall they were, everything i finish my work with the crosses and at 8:00 the next morning the high school kids came, they helped me put the crosses in. an hour later the bush pilot landed and i got all my specimen onboard, then a ship them to jeffrey. the >> the advantage that we had the tissue samples were extremely tiny, the size of a fingernail. he was able to provide us parts of the tialong, even
9:17 pm
so much more to work with. we could see quits the rest of the virus from that material. >> i think it would take weeks and weeksbefore he had any inkling if the specimens were good. but ten days later he called and said, we have it. the specimen is good. there was lots of specimen. great material. this is going to be wonderful. it was a great day for me. it started in 1955, and it 97 there it is. but again, without the-esque of most nothing would have come. >> the effort to see quest attack entire genome took ten years. it was very labourious process >> more than 13,000 pieces of
9:18 pm
genetic information had to be put together as a total. if he gets a sequence stretched over a gm, a little piece, so here is looking at it here and you have a genius this long and it is fully built, but this piece where does it fit here? or does it fit this way? or how about this way? what goes to the left or the right? day after day, a month after month, he has to put these together year after year. 13,000 piece had d to form this proper place. it is incredible. >> it is clearly a virus that was human adopted. but genetically it is very birdlike in its sequin, it is
9:19 pm
very avian. >> it is an entirely avian influenza virus that adapted to humans. there are a number of mutations and several of the jeans that arare crucial in adaptation to humans. you could imagine using these mutations as a screening tool to assess the significance of bird strain as to whether it was moving along the path that would make it adapted to humans. if we identify changes that are cruciaial to allow bird virus to replicate and humans, you could design drugs that might block or buying to that particular chain to prevent a bird virus from functioning in humans. the 1918 flu had a high propensity to kill young adults, ages 15 to 40, even having the entire sequence of the virus we do not understand why it behaved in that manner. i favor the idea that people
9:20 pm
that age group might have had the wrong sort of immunity. some kind of immune response that made the more susceptible to die. people older than age 45 or 50, there may have been pre-existing immunity to viruses that were simmilar to the 1918 virus. were trying to identify influenza positive aupsy tissue samplesrom before 1918, to help us figure out this problem. >> his right-hand woman, and repeat, very accomplished, she was sent up with a plaque to present to the village council. if he can do savings of hundreds of millions of life it all started right here in this
9:21 pm
village. >> another question about the death toll in the flu pandemic was how people died after they became ill. doctor and doctororan examined the autopsy tissues in the collection, but also autopsy reports from all over the world who have people who had died of pandemic influenza. >> we find the vast majority of people who have died died because of secondary pneumonia, what we think happened decide a very violent influenza virus called such the stance of inflammatory response in the lungs, cause such tissue damage that bacteria like strap, that are very common to be carried in the throat could spread down into a long and cause a disease that would ultimately kill the person. the evidence helps explain why you have such high mortality in
9:22 pm
bill terri camps. this is very important in trying to understand what happened in 1918. it also has significant implications for pandemic planning in the furniture. >> we've seen an explosion information of influence i last ten years, primarily we think of sequencing the 1918 virus. also the unusual events that age five and one bird flu virus. >> we have been watching this particularly avian influenza virus for ten years now, these viruses are highly trans visible from bird to bird. they can deserve -- destroy a flock of birds. the most important thing is that humans who have very close contact with the infected birds occasionally be can become infected by this virus. over 60% of those who have become infected have died.
9:23 pm
many more people have been exposed to the virus, that have become infected. a order for this influenznza virus to cause a pandemic, we would have to see a number of changes that would occur in the virus so that the virus could be transmitted easily from human to human >> the fact that the flu and some viruses that we are monitoring so closely ours circulating for ten years and i'm still not cause a pandemic does not mean that they won't. we do not know for past pandemics how long those viruses were really circulating, caused infections in humans and then games that ability to be -- we don't know enough about her past history to predict the future. >> the biggest lasted is that
9:24 pm
we can't predict what influenza will do. >> as scientists look for answers for the 1918 flu virus we can also learn from the men and women who have responded to the house crisis, by taking it upon themselves to care for the relatives, and neighbors in their communities. doctor john was a physician with the public health service in el paso texas. he wrote to a colleague serving at a field hospital in france. >> we have all been awfully bussy with the flu, i baited average of 30 calls a day for about a month, everyone else did as much or more. public health service and red cross opened a hospital in the old school where we treated the mexican part of town. the epidemic here was fears. we had about 10,000 cases in the el paso and the mecca kick sequenced died quickly. whole families were exterminated. the white population fared
9:25 pm
almost as badly, i was three days behind on calls. the other doctors all had the sameme experience. >> when the people living and other parts of el paso, near the border many volunteered to use the cars as ambulances, picking up the sick and delivering them to hospitals. when the school in this neighborhood was turned into a hospital for flu patients, people from all over the city volunteered as nurses, drivers and clerks. >> you see we have been serving our country right here at home. >> that epidemic then, -- everybodydy helped us they gave their houses or their help, or whatever people need it, that needed it.
9:26 pm
that helps the community, both fair and here. >> there is a shortage of doctors and nurses during the 1918 pandemic because so many of them were serving in the war efforts. you had a mixture of both trained medical personnel and those with some training and those who were civically minded individuals who wanted to participate and tend to the ill. the woman who volunteered were literally putting their lives on the line. they were stepping into a deadly pandemic because they believed it was their calling and they wanted to do what they believed was their duty. i would say that the activities of volunteers, particularly women who rose to the challenge, was absolutely crucial. this is a story of unsung heroes who rose to the gravity of the moment. >> in villages in alaska, a
9:27 pm
whole village would become sick at once, no one to provide food or shelter. thesehings make a difference. even and wealthy nations like the u.s., the conusion at the end of 1918 was that the single most important thihing that cod save your life from the flu was good nursing care. not medicine, not doctors, not hospitals. good nursing care. when he read those things you think they can't be true. what could d they doin those days? i believe the data. they are some of thebest phicians and nurses said it again and again, good nursing care. >> even though no one knew what caused influenza, somome communities took stepto present and prevent the spread of the disease. >> we have been looking at 43 super strains of the pandemic
9:28 pm
to see what they did to stave off the epidemic or what they didn't do, what worked and what didn't. what were their records? what we nd is that those that actcted e early with a suite of classical public health, quarantine, closure of schools, no public gatherings, when they acted early before was had a chance to spread, and kept these measures on for a long time, and used more than one of these measur at the same time, both cities had a much better records. there is a mountain of stuff that we are learning from the pandemic, this applies to people today or in the near distant future. we have learned from the experiences of that 1918 pandemimic. that is only one of the factors that makes us better prepared to deal with influenza pandemics, then the world was in 1980. there are extraordinary
9:29 pm
advantages, some are pretty simple like experience. like social distancing, across avoiding a crowded places, things that weren't fully appreciated. some cities did ended well. most importantly we have bio medical and health care andd technical advancesthat we didn't have. we have vaccines, we didn't have that for the flu before. we didn't t even know what the microbe was when they are dealing with it. many people thought it was a strange bacteria, not a virus. number two, we have antiviral drugs. we didn't have it then. we have antibiotics to treat the secondary complications, the bacterial complications of influenza. we have better technology to treat acutely and seriously ill people. efficient good respirators,
9:30 pm
intensive care, people with expertise, all of these things we did not have back then. we have them now. >> our parents and grandparents had little more chance to prepare. but wknow now that influence that has caused pandemics at interview vessels furless 500 years. public health officis have been n preparing for the next fu pandemic knowing that it could be mild or a severas 1918. the world is watching a new pandemic flu virus. the age one and one which emerged in the spring of 2009. >> we know the new to the asinine h1n1 is in almost every country in the world, so far the 2009 doesn't appear to have thahat level of severity as that
9:31 pm
1918. the 2009 virus is fected people differently. the illness is most common in young people, children and young adults. we are also seeing hospitalizations and deaths, in particular with people who have conditions that risk their increase of complications. pregnant women have been heavenly hit.. the native populations may have a hhigher risk of severe illnes, we want to be ready and make sure that these populations are served and they have good access to health care and the vaccination. >> everyone has the experience that the best way to contain influenza is getting a very efficient and safe that seem. vaccine given the c current technology, even more modern technology, you do no make a vaccine overnight. you have to first find out what
9:32 pm
the viruses and then you have a multi step process in order to get enough vaccine to protect the population. that process generally take several months. usually six or more months. >> vaccination is an important part of our response to the 2009 virus. it is important to say it is not the only part, we have a whole series of mitigation efforts. a whole series of communication efforts. >> population officials -- stay home when you're sick, sh your handsfrequently with warm water and soap. practice cough and sneeze etiquette, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. >> the start of a pandemic, that is the most efficient tool that we will have. in addition to social distancing, stay home when your
9:33 pm
sick and so on we are a community. that hugs and shakes that has elevators to go to different pparts of the building, go grocery shopping and we need to push or carts. everything you do is that you need to touch something that other people touch. that hand washing be very critical. these good habits and vaccinations also prevent the spread of seasonal flu. an annual immunization for the seasonal flu helps people stay healthy and helps health workers prepared vaccinate during a pandemic. >> these immunizations are available every year. it is very important for people, especially 65 and older, to take these immunizations. it is important have it every year. the vaccine is a covered medicare benefit. there is no way you look at the flu from the flu shot.
9:34 pm
>> based on what i know and observing with this 2009 h1n1 virus, the risk of getting the influenza or having a complication is much higher than any theoretical risk of the vaccine. it is important for people to know that not getting vaccinated put you at risk, 100 milln people get the vaccine every year. they have a strong safety track record. the 2009 h1n1 are being made exactly the same way. a long term goal for scientts working on this vaccine, is to develop a vaccine that will protect against all seasonal and pandemic influenza. we generally referred that is a universal vaccine. there's a real possibility to that, it won't be easy to do. what we are working on, when i
9:35 pm
say we i mean the scientists in the field, is to identify the components of all influenza viruses that don't change as the virus drifts or shifts. then you have to put that in and if you knew generic form, so that would you injected into a person, or spray in the noes to a person, that person will make an iune response that is robust. there are a lot of people working on it. >> every year we have fewer elders to remind us of the terrible time they, theirir famies and their communities the what through in 1918. but we need to keep those emories alive. >> there's a lot of things to be learned and we continue to study t 1918 flu. the important lesson is that pandemics can be very serious. but also, pandemics can be widespread an not that
9:36 pm
serious. there's a degradation of pandemics. you always must prepare for the worst-case scenario, even though you might have a mild pandemic like a one such as in 1968, or an intermediate pandemic that happened in 1957. >> t the current pandemic is les severe than the planning zeroes had had. it could bece less severe and doesn't affect a lot of people. it could become more severe it could mutate to a deadly or virus. it could go along the same way. only time will tell, we have to be ready to o pivot every spawn differently ifhe virus changes. >> yeah one thing you can predict about it is that it is unpredictable. >> we still know much less than we would like about influenza, t the experiences of the individuals who endured the
9:37 pm
pandemic of 1918, continue to contribute to our understanding of the disease. >> we are infinity better than we were prepared 100 years ago, at the beginning of the 20th century. for more information about pandemic influenza, go to flu top of, or medicare it got glove.
9:38 pm
this is a virus a tiny organism lesson one inch in diameter, this is the electron microsce

211 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on